Monday, 21. April 2014
26. 03. 12. - 16:00
Austria is set to reopen the investigation into the kidnapping of child kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch after her father launched a civil case against the man he says was involved in the abduction.
Natasha's father Ludwig Koch filed civil charges at the start of this month (8 March) for damages against the best friend of his daughter's kidnapper.
He took the unprecedented step of filing a civil case over the kidnapping because there was now a "mountain" of evidence against Ernst Holzapfel – the best friend of Wolfgang Priklopil - who snatched Natascha Kampusch off the streets when she was 10 and kept her in a cellar for eight years before she escaped in 2006.
The civil case six years after Natascha escaped was filed at the Vienna Civil Court (Landesgericht für Zivilrechtssachen Wien) demanding damages from Holzapfel, the closest and probably only friend of Wolfgang Prikopil.
Mr Koch is represented by the Vienna-based legal team of Dr Alfred Boran, Mag Dietmar Heck and Dr Kristina Venturini-Köck, who have supported him throughout the time since his daughter was released.
Lawyer Dietmar Heck said: "After going through the vast amount of material that has come to light one has to come to the conclusion, that Mr Koch has a good chance to prove Mr Holzapfel's involvement. We believe there is sufficient evidence to prove that Mr Holzapfel at the very least knew that his best friend, with whom he reportedly worked in the garden of his house in Strasshof with an excavator just before the kidnapping, was holding Natascha against her will - and did absolutely nothing to end her ordeal. By failing to act he extended the suffering of Natascha and her parents for more than 8 years. Mr Koch spent almost all his time and the little money he had searching in vain for his daughter."
The legal case on paper is about compensation for the suffering but Mr Koch stressed he did not care about the money - he said he did not believe justice had been done, he wanted to have the evidence tested in a court of law. He said he hoped the answers would bring him and his daughter closure on the subject - and a chance to move on.
He said: "I heard today that the justice ministry is planning to investigate the case again. However, given the track record so far, I intend to press ahead with the civil case.
"Her freedom has brought no release for any of us, far from it, there are more unanswered questions now than there were in 2006 and as Natascha's father I am now no longer prepared to allow this situation to go on.
"Whatever the outcome of that case one thing is already certain - whatever the circumstances, my daughter was and is the biggest victim. She should not be criticised for any of her statements or her actions made since her release. We hope this case will bring her, and us, final closure."
The government ordered an investigative committee to look at the case again which is set to hear the last witnesses this week, but the committee chairman Werner Amon has now announced in advance that he shares the view that there was not just a single kidnapper - and that others were involved.
Austrian media said that although the final report has not been handed over the new investigation was now a foregone conclusion after a statement from Amon.
He said: "Anybody who was hoping that our report would be the final chapter will be disappointed. That is something I can categorically rule out."
He said that the only question was how, adding: "We will either recommend that prosecutors look at it again or get new experts in to re-evaluate the evidence - but it will not now be dropped. There is a huge list of points that have just not been properly looked at."
He also claimed that he had not been given all of the evidence in the case.
Pink Easter bunny helps Vienna art world pay tribute to Dürer
The Viennese art world has created its own version of the Easter Bunny – by making a giant sized sculpture of the famous Albrecht Dürer painting currently on display until 29 June as part of the exhibition "Dürer, Michelangelo, Rubens"
Pressure Group To Tackle Victims Of Austrian Officialdom
A group of businessmen fed up at the way companies are being squeezed not only by red tape but also by ever newer taxes have taken to the Internet to try and build up pressure for change.
First Hotel in Millstatt Celebrates 130th Anniversary on Summer 2014
Luxury hotel See-Villa in Millstatt, Carinthia opens its doors anew to welcome the 2014 summer season and celebrates its 130th founding anniversary in Austria's summer capital.
Austrian Teen Girls Become Pin Ups For Syrian Jihad
Interpol is searching for two Austrian teenage girls who they believe have been tricked into going to Syria to fight on the side of Islamic rebels.
As seen at Haydn Kino: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Film review by Kostyantyn Steblovskyy
Schools Ordered To Save, But Also To Buy Expensive Scales
Austria's embattled finance ministry has been dragged into a new scandal after it emerged that at the same time as demanding schools save 57 Millionen Euros, they were also expected to find an additional 3 million to buy an approved set of weighing scales.
OAP Hunts Down THIS Hit And Run Cyclist
Does anyone recognise this cyclist? If so you can get yourself 200 euros, and do a good deed in the process.
Property price rise continues
The price of property in Vienna has now spiralled so much that every 4th apartment comes with a price tag of 500,000 or more. And every second flat costs 300,000 or more.
Free Staff For One Person Companies - But Only In NÖ
Since the beginning of the year one-man-companies, the so called "Ein-Personen-Unternehmen" in Lower Austria have been entitled to help in the form of a free assistant.
What is on at Burg Kino this week? (18 April - 24 April)
This week at the Burg Kino on the Opernring the following films are showing:
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Austrian Teen Girls Become Pin Ups For Syrian Jihad|
|Turtle flies from Vienna to India to try his luck with the ladies|
|Austria Accused Of Ignoring Giant Nazi Swastika|
|Muslim Brotherhood leader denies move to Graz|
|Two teenage girls go missing as they fly from Austria to fight in Syria|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.